NEWS IN BRIEF
28 Jan 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. The establishment for an Iraqi Army Division is 10,100; for a Brigade it is 2,750 and for a Battalion it is 850. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 28 Jan 08.)
Deployed UK military hospitals maintain stocks of blood sourced from UK National Blood Service donor centres. (MA, 30 Jan 08.)
A method of testing over-roofing structures, which protect personnel from mortar and rocket attacks, has been established and delivered. (QinetiQ, 31 Jan 08.)
Operations on the Iraq/Iran border are to continue as part of the UK’s ‘overwatch’ role. (MoD, 31 Jan 08.)
Comment: The Defence Secretary said (29 Jan 08) that the provision of “training, mentoring and monitoring” of Iraqi Security Forces is a primary task for UK personnel in Iraq. Training is being provided for the 10th and 14th Iraqi Army Divisions at Divisional, Brigade and Battalion level. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0806, 04 Feb 08)
25 Jan 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. All Sea King and Chinook helicopters deployed in Afghanistan are equipped with winches. (MA, 25 Jan 08.)
The balance of helicopter force levels, including the deployment of Merlin to Afghanistan, is currently being examined. (MA, 30 Jan 08.)
Comment: A House of Commons Debate on ‘Military Operations (Information)’ was held on 29 Jan 08 (Hansard, Column 60WH) during which Ann Winterton MP and Patrick Mercer MP were highly critical of MoD Public Relations in general and the handling of the Musa Qaleh Operation in particular.
Three disparaging Reports were released during the past week: by Oxfam (‘Development and Humanitarian Priorities’); by the US Center for the Study of the Presidency (‘Study Group Report’) and by the US Atlantic Council (‘An Appeal and Plan for Urgent Action’). The Atlantic Council Brief concluded: “Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0806, 04 Feb 08)
31 Jan 08. Tristan da Cunha: Further Aid Being Sent. The MoD reported (31 Jan 08) that RFA Lyme Bay was preparing to sail to Tristan da Cunha, where urgent repairs to the main harbour are required. Those embarked include 40 Royal Engineers, a Royal Logistic Corps detachment and a medical support team from the Royal Navy. Lyme Bay is also carrying cement and plant such as bulldozers and cement mixers.
Comment: Tristan and five smaller islands are dependencies of St Helena and thus part of the UK’s Overseas Territories. The island is located 1,800 miles (2,900km) West of Cape Town. According to the MoD, a total or partial evacuation of Tristan’s 270 inhabitants “may need to be considered”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0806, 04 Feb 08)
04 Feb 08. Swedish Military Warns Of Budget-Driven Cuts. Swedish military chiefs, worried that military spending cuts will degrade key units, are looking to shift funds from secondary to primary uses. “We would not like to reach a situation where we are forced to inflict further cutbacks on core operating units,” said Gen. Håkan Syrén, the supreme commander of the Swedish Defense Forces (SDF). At current funding levels, we may need to redistribute funds from the available budget and allocate them on a priority basis to operating units.”
Operating units within land forces and the Air Force are regarded as essential to Sweden’s international participation programs. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has instructed the Armed Forces Command (AFC) to keep spending within 2008’s $5.91bn budgetary allocation, underscoring the government’s intent not to provide additional funding. The 2008 budget, in real spending terms, is about $100m less than in 2007. In a statement, AFC officials said the SDF will not outspend its nearly $6bn budget, nor request additional money. Instead, the AFC is working to reduce costs while shifting funds to principal operating units. On Jan. 23, AFC officials sought Defense Ministry approval to give Primary Units Operations some $126m from the Materiel and Install